The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs
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Annotation: Looks at the life of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer, from his early fascination with the ocean to his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs.
Genre: [Biographies]
Catalog Number: #197754
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Forsythe, Matthew,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-452-13350-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-6362-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-452-13350-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-6362-2
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2016010977
Dimensions: 24 x 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Growing up, Ken Nedimyer enjoyed watching Jacques Cousteau on TV, snorkeling in the Florida Keys, and maintaining the many aquariums in his bedroom. One hot summer when he was older, he noticed that the coral reefs he loved were dying. Years later, operating a live rock farm (growing invertebrates such as algae and sponges for aquariums), Ken and his daughter tried a new idea: gluing small coral colonies to limestone surfaces that had once supported a healthy reef. The transported coral grew, reproduced, and flourished, offering hope for reef restoration around the world. Messner brings a good story to light and chooses intriguing facts and ideas to include. She points out that although Ken's father was a NASA engineer and the boy watched space-bound rockets taking off near their home, it was the ocean that captivated him and led to his life's work. Ken's gradual growth from boy to man is evident mainly in Forsythe's strong, expressive, luminous illustrations, which include many underwater scenes showing divers in action. An engaging and informative picture book.
Horn Book
Messner describes the threatened Florida Keys coral reefs and the efforts of one man--Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation--to restore them to health and vigor. Forsythe's illustrations are a unique take on tropical waterscapes, juxtaposing kaleidoscopic color washes with dark and light foundational structures to capture details of the corals and their protectors. "How Can Kids Help?" section is appended. Reading list, websites. Glos.
Kirkus Reviews
The story of Ken Nedimeyer's brilliant idea and his work to restore troubled coral reefs.Nedimeyer, son of a NASA engineer, grew up exploring Florida's underwater world. As an adult, he became aware that the coral reefs he had loved were fading, even dying. He experimented with transplanting staghorn corals that had grown in his live rock farm. The transplants grew and became the impetus for his founding of the Coral Restoration Foundation, which now works internationally. Aimed at quite young readers and listeners, Messner's hopeful tale begins with the one coral gamete that can found a colony and ends with an image of this one man whose efforts have spurred restoration. In between, she touches on how corals grow and form an underwater community and how this white scientist worked with his daughter and others to rebuild the reefs. In Over and Under the Pond (illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, 2017) and other titles aimed at slightly older readers, the author has depicted habitats with convincing details about the animals. Here, it's the pictures that portray the colorful underwater world; the text places more emphasis on a human's background and his process. The unusual palette and soft edges of Forsythe's large-scale illustrations add mystery to the marine world and will show well.A charming piece of environmental good news for storytime. (Informational picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly
Messner draws a poetic analogy between people and corals in this story of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation: -Some drift in the currents until they come to rest, not too deep, on the ocean floor. If one is lucky, it lands in a place where it can grow.- Messner describes Nedimyer-s upbringing in Florida, where he is entranced by the ocean-a passion that continues into his adulthood as he works to cultivate marine life on rocks for use in aquariums. This endeavor sparks an idea to plant healthy colonies in dying coral reefs. Readers are likely to be intrigued by the hands-on process of regrowing the reefs: -With a careful dab of epoxy-just the size of a Hershey-s Kiss-volunteers attach the coral colonies. Piece by piece, arm by arm. Hoping they will grow on their own.- Forsythe-s grainy scenes of Nedimyer diving are infused with a golden glow that emanates from the healthy coral colonies-a hint at the wonder that ocean life inspires in the subject. Messner delivers a quiet homage to Nedimyer and the power of innovation. Ages 5-8. (May)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 2-5 A child's fascination with swimming in the ocean leads to important work in his adulthood. This picture book biography touches on useful lessons beyond the fall and rise of the world's coral reefs. Messner begins and ends the story with a potent line: "It starts with one." Following a short introduction to coral reefs, Messner quickly turns to Ken Nedimyer's Floridian childhood and his love of aquatic life. ("At one point he had thirty aquariums in his bedroom, all bursting with life"). Nedimyer continued to pursue his love of the ocean, first in live rock farming, which then led to his successful efforts in growing corals and replenishing reefs. There's a lot to this story, and at the same time it's a quick brush of science, conservation, and a life well lived. The early years of Nedimyer's life are simply told, but readers may be a bit lost from the start if they aren't already familiar with coral and algae. The concluding glossary is pretty technical. Teachers and librarians would do well to pair this with any of the fine children's books on coral reefs listed in the bibliography. Forsythe's broad pastel sketches sweep viewers along nicely through ocean life and human work. Explanations of coral reef decline and ways children can help urge monetary contributions to the work of restoring the reefs conclude this riveting title. VERDICT A book that can be used in so many waysa study in biography, science, conservation, and volunteerism. A must for nonfiction collections. Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Word Count: 972
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 195659 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q74787
Lexile: 830L
Guided Reading Level: O
Fountas & Pinnell: O

The Brilliant Deep is the proud recipient of the ALA Notable Children's Books Award, the NSTA-CBC Best STEM Trade Books Award, the Junior Library Guild Selection and the ILA Teacher's Choices.

All it takes is one: one coral gamete to start a colony in the ocean, one person to make a difference in the world, one idea to help us heal the earth. The ongoing conservation efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs—with hammer and glue, and grafts of newly grown coral—are the living legacy of environmental scientist Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation.

In telling the story of this sea conservation pioneer and marine life protector, Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe create a stunning tribute to the wonders of nature and the power of human hope—a power even the smallest readers can access in their quest to aid our extraordinary planet.

Recommended by experts for children who are reading independently and transitioning to longer books, The Brilliant Deep is perfect for the following reading categories:

  • Books for Kids Ages 5-9
  • Children's Books for Kindergarten – 3rd Grade
  • Nonfiction Science Studies Education
  • Summer Reading

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